German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has added to the transatlantic debate over the appropriate value for the euro’s exchange rate, blaming the European Central Bank (ECB) for keeping it too low for his country.
Schäuble’s comments to German magazine Tagesspiegel over the weekend follow criticism from President Donald Trump’s top trade advisor, Peter Navarro, who said last week that Germany was exploiting the U.S. and other EU member states in using a “grossly undervalued” currency to establish a hefty trade surplus.
Schäuble’s comments have been widely interpreted as an attempt to deflect the rebuke aimed at Germany onto the interest rate-setting ECB and follow remarks from German Chancellor Angela Merkel last Tuesday which stressed the independence of the bloc’s central bank.
“The euro exchange rate is, strictly speaking, too low for the German economy’s competitive position,” Tagesspiegel quotes the finance minister as saying.
“When ECB chief Mario Draghi embarked on the expansive monetary policy, I told him he would drive up Germany’s export surplus . . . I promised then not to publicly criticize this course. But then I don’t want to be criticized for the consequences of this policy,” Schäuble is reported to have added.